What if Descartes had been a Woman? An Epistemology of Empathic Partnership

Authors

  • Jonathan Lyonhart Lincoln Christian University

Keywords:

theories of knowledge, transferability, empathy, empathic partnership, feminism, epistemology, Partnership Epistemology, Descartes

Abstract

An underlying assumption of much of public and academic discourse is that logic is a universal language transferable between humans, regardless of gender, race, religion, class, or culture. Conversely, personal experience is seen as simply that: personal. It may be a powerful way to illustrate a point or imbue it with passion, but it is not an argument in and of itself. Personal experience is particular, subjective, non-transferable, and ineffective due to its affective-ness. Yet our definitions of universal rationality have themselves been formed within particular contexts, primarily by Western males. Applying recent studies in the social sciences to a broader theory of knowledge, this paper will ask what androcratic assumptions males have brought into epistemology and what perspectives females have had to leave at the door? Specifically, is there a long-ignored partnership paradigm of female empathy (regardless of whether it is biologically or socially ingrained) that legitimates personal experience by allowing it to be transferable between humans? What might such a gylanic approach to knowledge yield for future ideologies and their corresponding social, political, and academic institutions?

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Published

2022-10-28

How to Cite

Lyonhart, J. (2022). What if Descartes had been a Woman? An Epistemology of Empathic Partnership. Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies, 9(2), Article 6. Retrieved from https://pubs.lib.umn.edu/index.php/ijps/article/view/4967